I’m not embarrassed by my obsession with Nic Cage. I genuinely feel he is one of the best actors in the world today, if not ever. And it upsets me a little when he makes spectacularly bad movies. But I feel better when I remember that he’s made over 90 movies in his career, spanning over 35 years.
They can’t all be good.
It upsets me when people I know think I’m being ridiculous when I discuss his genius. They don’t believe me when I say his work in movies like Bad Lieutenant and Birdy is some of the best stuff committed to film. They don’t even believe me when I tell them he won an Oscar once (he did, for Leaving Las Vegas).
He has a cottage roughly about an hour from where I live. This fact alone thrills and fascinates me. I’ve met a couple of famous people in my time, but The Cage would be one that topped them all.
He is a joy to watch. His life is a crazy mess of money and bad decisions. Yet he still manages to be positive and gracious with his fans (see the video at the very end of this post if you don’t believe me). And I tell you this, decades from now, his work will be discussed by film historians as being important and valuable.
However, I’m realistic. I’ve probably got more chance of meeting Nic in a Starbucks (one hour from my home!) than I have of convincing anyone who reads this that he is the best actor in the world. So I won’t try.
I’ve always wanted to write about him, and never have until now. So I’m going to write a true fan piece. First, we’ll look at some of his best performances. Then, we’ll review aspects of his crazy life.
There is no one as utterly fearless as Nicolas Cage. Granted, he’s made some movies recently that are much, much smaller than his talents, but that’s because he has to make money. I’m hoping that’s the reason anyway.
Before we dig into his rich and entertaining greatest hits collection, let’s just set the right mood.
Okay, here we go.
Scraping At The Doooor!
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is a terrible movie. But Cage apparently went completely method during filming, and reputedly spent a night in Dracula’s castle to ‘channel’ the spirits he required to deliver the performance.
Then, at one point in the movie, Cage’s character Johnny Blaze threatens a bad guy by ‘saying’ that the Ghostrider is scraping at the door. There is, of course, no reason for him to deliver the line in this way. But he does it anyway, and it is utterly marvellous.
Oh, this is a five minute loop of him doing this, so you might want to make yourself comfortable.
His Soul Is Still Dancing…
Understated for Nic Cage, you still see a glimpse of his other-worldliness here. When his character stares at the ‘dancing soul’ with such amusement, you know he’s in a different place than that which the other characters inhabit.
He’s in a different New Orleans for the whole of Bad Lieutenant, but this shows the character literally existing on an alternate plane. It’s a beautiful part of an amazing performance.
Personal Phone Call
More from the same movie, this time Cage delivers real intensity. Think of any other actor around today and you’ll agree that they would go down the tried and tested ‘menacing’ route for this exchange. But Cage goes all out with instinct. And by doing so, he’s more ‘real’ than any other actor could be.
Another great Cage moment, controlled and intense. He’s convincing in every second of this part, so when his fellow travellers look uneasy and nervous, it all makes perfect sense.
Short and sweet, this clip is just for laughs. Again, try and imagine any other actor in Hollywood agreeing to do this.
A perfect introduction to a character that is totally, unapolagetically insane.
The Wicker Man is not a good movie. The only reason to watch more than two minutes of it is the actor at the centre of it. A nasty and horrible film, Cage keeps it somehow more human, simply because he is, again, totally fearless in his acting.
More weird stuff he did
Let’s take a look at what it means to be Nic Cage.
When the cameras stop rolling, Nicolas drives home in his sensible car and watches TV until he’s tired. Then he drinks cocoa, snuggles up in his bed, and sleeps like a baby.
No he doesn’t.
Nic Cage has a crazy life. We’re not just talking drunkenness, drugs and late nights. Anyone can do that. No, Mr Cage takes it up a few levels and lives like only one other celebrity in the history of famous people did.
That’s right, he’s basically living like Elvis. If The King was alive today they’d be buddies. Elvis would be Nic’s mentor. They’d probably even do a movie together, be a comedy team like Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, or Hope and Crosby, or that guy from Mallrats who’s now working with the Chipmunks.
Here’s the proof.
He once took ‘special’ mushrooms…with his cat.
When people do drugs, it’s always (apparently) done better with someone else, or a group of people you feel safe with and can enjoy the experience with. You know, buddies. Friends.
If you do drugs on your own, you end up being a filthy addict who forgets to show up for work for weeks on end, and sports really, really bad skin.
Nic Cage had a friend when he took magic mushrooms. His cat.
One night he found his cat sneaking magic mushrooms out of his fridge (Cage’s fridge, not the cat’s), so he took some as well. The evening involved the two of them staring at each other for hours before passing out.
He bought an octopus to improve his acting
We all know that the humble octopus is intelligent, and basically the coolest looking thing in the ocean, so it’s not weird that Cage bought one.
What is weird is his reason behind the purchase. He bought the pet so that the octopus would help him with his acting.
And the octopus was just part of a nearly $300,000 spending spree.
He’s the ‘Best Global Actor In Motion Pictures’
He may have won an Oscar, but he also won a Chinese movie award for being the Best Global Actor In Motion Pictures. The Huading Awards bestowed this honour upon him back in 2013.
He had two teeth removed without anaesthetic, on purpose
If you’ve ever been startled by having a tooth removed without your mouth being numbed enough, you may find this incredibly scary.
The film Birdy required Cage to play a war veteran who’d suffered some serious injury. Rather than try to act, he ordered his dentist to remove two teeth without anaesthetic. Just so he had an opportunity to experience real intense physical pain.
He’s the most famous ‘FakeApp’ victim
The ‘FakeApp’ er…app is something that allows pasty-faced loners with too much time on their hands to insert photos of people into clips and whole movies. It has become particularly nasty recently, with the professional social outcasts who do this sort of thing choosing to insert images of Hollywood actresses into pornographic movies.
That really, really sucks.
On the lighter side, those same idiots are inserting Nic Cage into Bond movies, episodes of Saturday Night Live, and (this is the best part) the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy as every single character.
It’s the stuff of nightmares, but I can’t wait to see it.
Meanwhile, here’s an example of their sterling work so far.
A final treat
Every year, in Austin, Texas, a special festival is held. It’s called ‘Caged’ and it’s organised and run purely to honour the great man.
One year he turned up and did a Q&A. If you haven’t seen the video below, I recommend you sit down and watch it. It’s everything a Nic Cage fan would want to see.
The Magic Of Cage
He’s like nobody else. The closest actor we have to him is Christoper Walken, or maybe Crispin Glover. But both of those actors are still a little more choosy in how they run their career. Cage is on this planet for the ride, nothing more.
A little while ago, a guy on the Web uploaded a photo of a man from America’s past, a guy in a photo from 1870. The man tried to sell the photo on eBay, because the guy in the photo had a strong resemblance to Cage.
On eBay, the man was at one point taking bids for $1,000,000. Then he took the auction down, probably because Cage’s legal team was involved.
Nic Cage went on Letterman to deny he was a vampire (which is what the guy was claiming), mainly because er, he wasn’t a vampire.
Here he is discussing it, with a wonderful sense of humour and clear acknowledgement that it seems pretty plausible that people might think he is a vampire.
Always entertaining, even in bad movies, Nicolas Cage is one of our great living actors. May he make 90 more movies.
I’m not embarrassed. Go ahead Cage. Show them how it’s done.
And Mr Cage, if you’re reading this, I live around an hour away from you, let’s hang out.